Podcast: Bringing The Hammer
On the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, hosts Hannah Goodin and Jon Nelson welcome Maurice Freeman, the head football coach of the Brooks County Trojans. The Trojans had a big win in the second round of the playoffs in a rematch of last year's Class AA title game with Dublin. Coach Freeman breaks it down for us and gives the story behind his mantra, "Bring the hammer."
Jon Nelson: Welcome to another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast here at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thanks for accessing us however you are doing so: large device or small, if you're sitting at home, sitting in your office, in your car, you have your phone, your whatever device plugged into your ears, if it's Bluetooth, however. Thanks for hanging out with us for another week of the show. This week's guest: one of the coolest guys in the state.
Hannah Goodin: I'm excited.
Jon Nelson: Maurice Freeman, the head coach of Brooks County, big win over Dublin and had to catch up with him and got to find out really what it's been like this season, what it's been like to go from Double A to Single A, what the playoff run’s been like. We get to ask him about some of his unsung heroes in your “Make That Kid an Offer” question that we always like to do. So it's fun to catch up with him. Caught up with him on his cell as he was bouncing back and forth from the school to the house and hopefully didn't disturb his lunch hour too much.
Hannah Goodin: Bring the hammer, baby.
Jon Nelson: Yes. And that's when we got to the genesis of that, too. And it was really cool to hear that story as well. So what do you think of last week in Round 2?
Hannah Goodin: Man, you know what? I was going to ask you what your biggest takeaway is. And I'll tell you mine first. I was texting with Camden County head coach Bob Sphire the other day.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: And he said it the best. He said in all these years of coaching, which is a lot, he reiterated he's never had a season like this.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: And I think he was just shocked that we've gotten this far.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: And with only a few weeks away from the championships, less than three.
Jon Nelson: I know.
Hannah Goodin: I just cannot get over the fact that day in and day out, our GPB crew is grinding it out, we're getting through these games, we've only had a few reschedules on our end.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: And it's just been really seamless. And the cooperation of everyone has been so great. This has been one of my favorite seasons so far — as Jon is knocking on every piece of wood that he can find — just because we've all come together as a GPB family to get these broadcasts done and how special it is for the players and the coaches to be able to see it through.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, and one of the things that we do, for those that aren't necessarily aware, is — the best way that I can describe what we're doing on a week-in and week-out basis is kind of like what FOX did with their NASCAR coverage, when NBC did with their NASCAR coverage: They had announcers in one location that was on site in a studio, and the crew was still at site shooting it as a normal football game. But you basically have two setups.
You have the setup here at Georgia Public Broadcasting at 260 14th with you in a studio, with Wayne and Matt in a separate studio. And then I'm on-site listening to all of it. And basically — so think of it as me being, doing like a live shot for a remote in addition to being there and doing all the sideline in the field, anchoring and all that other kind of stuff. So it's having to do basically two productions at once.
And I give a lot of credit top-down to Teya Ryan, our president and CEO, Kevin Gerke, our sports director, everyone in engineering, everyone behind the scenes, everyone on the crew that you see in the credit list to make sure that this goes off every single week without a hitch. Everybody from me just gets an absolute tip of the hat from what they've been able to do this season to make sure that we do Football Fridays every week.
Hannah Goodin: And I know we keep talking about it, but it's still the story. And that's the first thing that Coach Sphire said: “Hannah, can you — can you believe this season? I've never seen anything like it. I cannot believe that the playoffs are happening.” I mean, it's still the story and it still just amazes me. And I can't wait — well, I mean, I can wait. I'm excited for the championships.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: But I'm interested to see once the championships are over and you and I have had a chance to get some sleep.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, good luck.
Hannah Goodin: Like how we're going to look back on this season and just be like, “I can't believe we did that.” But anyways, I digress.
Jon Nelson: That's all right.
Hannah Goodin: Our Round 2 matchup. Let me do a quick round to recap before we get to the quarterfinals. I don't want to get too ahead of ourselves here. We had the big matchup between two seed Lowndes and one seed North Cobb. The Vikings seemed to have control defensively, in my opinion, most of the game. But the Warriors’ sophomore quarterback Malachi Singleton was outstanding. He never gave up — so impressive to me, his will to fight through this one. It came down to the wire and Singleton aired a few into the end zone that were almost caught with time running out. A few breathless moments for everyone, Jon. Including me. But he couldn't make the touchdown completion. Lowndes won at 21 to 13 and will advance to play one seed Milton in the quarterfinals. The Eagles took down Archer 17 to 9 on Friday. A missed PAT by North Cobb as well made it a bit lopsided. But man was that a close one.
Jon Nelson: Well, yeah and you had the defenses. You had two very talented quarterbacks, Jacurri Brown, Malachi Singleton. We got to see those and we get them each for — well, we get Jacurri Brown for one more year. We get Malachi Singleton for two more years.
Hannah Goodin: I can't wait to see what he can do.
Jon Nelson: So the athleticism that you get to see from those two guys, 20 — 22 programs right now, I think, have offers out to Jacurri Brown.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Jon Nelson: And I think that number is going to increase slightly. But to see all of that athleticism on display, to see the tough defense, to see what this season is all about. The third season, as I call it, it's about grinding out a result. And that's what Lowndes did. Lowndes hung around, hung around, hung around and ground out a result, took advantage of some mistakes from North Cobb and ended up getting the Duke, winning 21-13, great win. And once again, it was great to see Lowndes up close and personal. I know that Matt had the chance to see them at the beginning of the season. We got to see him on Football Fridays this past Friday night, so a great result for Lowndes and grinding it out against North Cobb.
Hannah Goodin: Just pulled up Malachi's stats. So weird to see “class of 2023 6’6” 205.” It looks like he's gotten a few offers. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have some feelers out there for him. I think that's — he's — that's going to blow up by the time he becomes a senior. This page is going to be a lot more full.
Jon Nelson: Yes.
Hannah Goodin: But I was very impressed.
Jon Nelson: No doubt. And, you know, once again, Shane Queen with what they've been able to do there at North Cobb, tremendous effort by them this season as well. Looking forward to seeing some great things from Emory Sewell in the next couple of seasons.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. All right. Let's do the whip around the rest of the state. More than half of this year's 64 quarterfinal teams also made it to the quarters in 2019, which means there weren't a ton of surprises in Round 2. But if I can pick one out, it’d have to be Parkview. They defeated No. 6 East Coweta 41 to 14. I just — it's not that they won, just the margin of 41 to 14, a beatdown of a top-ranked opponent by the Panthers. They will now face Collins Hill, who got past Denmark in Round 2. Thoughts on that one, Jon.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, that that one for me was one of the big surprises. And really, the way that I'm looking at it is: Like you, it was the — no, it was the margin that it was more than anything else. You know, a lot of folks, when you have a healthy running back who got to face the Inquisition from the interviewer of the stars, Hannah Goodin. And so when you've got —
Hannah Goodin: Yes.
Jon Nelson: But now when you see and they also took advantage of some mistakes from East Coweta, too. There was a quick score and then a fumble, I think, on the ensuing kickoff, which resulted in another quick score. There were three scores in quick succession. Scott Sechler was there helping me out with coverage of that game. But taking advantage of mistakes: We saw it in our game. You see it in this one with Parkview. Parkview wins it and they move on.
Hannah Goodin: I know there's not money lines and high school football but I can tell you right now —
Jon Nelson: Actually, there are.
Hannah Goodin: Really?
Jon Nelson: There are, especially at championship games I've seen.
Hannah Goodin: Is it legal?
Jon Nelson: That I doubt very seriously, but I have actually seen those kinds of things happen.
Hannah Goodin: Well, my point was, I doubt the margin was 27. That's all I've got to say.
Jon Nelson: That's true. Exactly.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Let's work down the classifications here in 6A. No. 3 Westlake had a bit of an upset over No. 5 Richmond Hill. The final score in that one: 55 to 13. The Lions will now face Allatoona, who defeated Dacula. Another score. The shocker here is not the No. 3 versus No. 5. It's the score: 55 to 13.
Jon Nelson: Exactly. And I think that that's probably, you know, when you had a lot of “favorites” — and I'll put that word in quotes — win this past weekend in Round 2, the margins of victory are the surprises that we saw here. And this is another one of those examples.
Hannah Goodin: Also in 6A, Langston Hughes punches its very first playoff ticket after beating Glen Academy, 35 to nothing, blanking ’em out. The Panthers will now play Buford, who is coming off a win over Cambridge.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, and 42-7. Buford's been in control for their first two playoff games and it's going to be a tough one with Hughes and their defense. Hughes has not given up a point in the postseason and it was 27-nothing with Northside Warner Robins. 35-nothing with Glen Academy. So if, if you believe in numerology, then it would be 43-nothing over Buford. But I don't think that's going to be the case.
Hannah Goodin: In Triple A, coach Brad Harbor — y’all know he's one of my favorite coaches in this state. He can keep growing out that playoff beard because Crisp County blanked Richmond Academy 36-nothing. The Cougars are now matched up against Cedar Grove. The Saints edged out Rockmart 30-27 in triple overtime. That was a wild one. Excited for Coach Harbor and his team to get back at it, get another chance this year, hopefully at a championship. But man, that Rockmart game as well.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, and that was you had two great talents, you know, going up against one another there. And Cedar Grove, remember, Cedar Grove was the top-ranked team in Triple A. So basically what you've had is a win against Monroe Area on the road as a three seed. Then you go to Rockmart, one of the toughest environments to play, and you put out a result there in triple overtime against or against Rockmart, Javin Whately and their offense. And their stout defense as well Biff Parson, and now as a three seed once again hitting the road again and you get another rematch of a championship game. But it's in the quarterfinals.
Hannah Goodin: I know, I know.
Jon Nelson: You get the quarterfinals where you have Cedar Grove packing it up for the third week in a row. You go to Monroe Area, you go to Rockmart and now it's pack a lunch, pack a dinner and you're going to Cordele to take on Crisp in Round 3.
Hannah Goodin: Wild. And finally, the last game on my list comes from Single-A Public. Brooks County will advance to take on Washington. Well, here's my little here's my little tease. They beat Dublin 41 to 7, another insane margin at the Shamrock Ball. And I'm excited to get more in depth about that game with head coach Maurice Freeman later in the show Jon.
Jon Nelson: Well, it's not going to be that much later because it's about to be in like 60 seconds.
Hannah Goodin: 60 seconds.
Jon Nelson: We caught up with him on his lunch hour, so he joined us by his cell as he was in transition from the school to his house so he could grab a bite to eat before the rest of his day kicked in. So here is us catching up with Coach Freeman and the first question comes from Hannah.
Hannah Goodin: Hey, Coach, my first question is, what does practice look like this week?
Maurice Freeman: Well, Monday is an install day to prepare for our opponents. So we — we've got an install period, special team period — fundamentals, because you can never get enough fundamentals. From there, we'll do a little teamwork. Some inside work, outside work, then we'll finish with some more team and end with special teams and sprints.
Jon Nelson: When you and I caught up a little a little while ago, a couple of weeks ago, you know, we were talking about other things, but the first thing that I wanted to ask this go-round is there are a lot of coaches that I'll talk to that actually can't believe that we've gotten to this particular point of the season and that we have gotten here as well as we have. When I ask you that question, do you believe that we would have gotten to this point in the season?
Maurice Freeman: Based on what is going on in the community and every community, I am certainly shocked that we've gotten this far. I'm thankful, I'm happy that we've gotten this far, but I'm really surprised that we got this far.
Hannah Goodin: Well, you guys have gotten very far. You're 12 and 1 on the year. The only loss was to Irwin County back on Oct. 9th. Now, the path through the playoffs, you got through three seed Claxton and one seed Dublin. What is your takeaway from those two games?
Maurice Freeman: Well, I think we may be a little better than I thought we were. I thought we were a pretty good team. Maybe we are a little better than that, but I won't write that down on paper, you know, but I'm excited about it. Our guys are enthusiastic. They are playing hard. And the biggest part, they're enjoying it and it's teaching them life lessons.
Jon Nelson: When it came to this game against Dublin, I know that when the brackets came out, a lot of folks were sitting there and they had that game circled, if things were to come to pass, that Brooks County would be meeting Dublin in the second round of the playoffs. When the brackets came out, what was the response to everybody at Brooks County and in Quitman who were fans of the program, that meant that that game could have been a possibility?
Maurice Freeman: Well, I immediately got on my phone and called James Brown asking about “Can I use this music?!” We wanted “The Payback.” We circled at that game and said, “Guys, we got to get there. You know, they took that state title from us. We got to see if we've been proved. So we need to see them to solve that. And the only way we can see them is to continue to win. And the only way to solve it is to beat ’em.
Hannah Goodin: That game was one of my top games on my list of games to watch. Not only did you beat them, you beat them 41 to 7 at the Shamrock Bowl. What was the team's reaction after the game?
Maurice Freeman: They were bouncing around like crazy, very happy, excited about it. Fans were excited about it. I'm sure that Dublin was very, very shocked and nobody thought that — I'm sure no one thought that we could play with Dublin and in the famous Wing T offense, but we got a chance to prove ourselves.
Jon Nelson: How hard is it to play assignment football and to prepare for something like the Delaware Wing T or any kind of an offense that you don't see. You know, with Clinch the Notre Dame box or with Chet the Notre Dame box and with Dublin, it's the Delaware Wing T. How difficult is it to prepare for something that you don't see week in and week out?
Maurice Freeman: It is a lot of eye candy. Just like little kids — little kids see candy, they stop in their tracks. All of us see cake, we'll stop in our tracks. Men see a gorgeous woman, we just about stop in our tracks, so a Wing T offense and the Delaware, a single box, all those type of offenses or something you don't see and they will shock you. And if you don't stick to your guns, they’ll cause you a lot of trouble.
Hannah Goodin: Taking a look ahead to this Friday, you'll be facing Washington-Wilkes, who got through one seed Bowdon and three seed Taylor County. What are your thoughts on the matchup and what are you looking for?
Maurice Freeman: Very large team. I'm glad they got a four-and-a-half hour ride. You know, they've got some skilled kids that are very, very impressive, but it's north Georgia — or northeast Georgia versus south Georgia. So I know they're physical football teams, but we need to know, are they as physical as we are in south Georgia? Are they as fast as we are? So it's a classic matchup, a spread team, the quarterback with a nice arm, a lot of receivers that can fly. So we'll see what happens.
Jon Nelson: Has anything about this season about your team surprised you or have you been pleasantly surprised all the way through about how your team has grown into this particular week?
Maurice Freeman: Well, I guess you could say the big win against Clinch. I thought it would be a low-scoring game. The big win against Dublin, I thought would be a low-scoring game. Those two were shockers to me. Glad we won. I thought we were possibly the better team, but I didn't think the score would be that lopsided so those two were shockers.
Hannah Goodin: Speaking of surprises, is there a player on your team that surprised you? We do this thing called “Make That Kid an Offer” on our Recruiting 2020 show. And we like to shine light on players that don't have offers or maybe need more offers. Is there a kid on your team that really stands out to you?
Maurice Freeman: Yes, my quarterback Nitavion Burrus, 5’10”, 5’11” on a great day, has no offers at this time, big arm, smart kid, you know, and naturally, shorter quarterbacks don't get the looks that 6’4”, 6’5” guys get. And I think I think some schools need to bring him in and give him a personal workout and see how talented this young man really is.
Jon Nelson: I was going to ask, what is it about him that may not necessarily be a part of the package, but what about the whole package on the field, off the field? What makes him that solid talent that's there for you, even if he is altitudinally challenged at quarterback, as they say?
Maurice Freeman: The young man can take hard coaching. That is one thing he's good at. He wants information. He wants input all the time. He's a tough guy. You know, he can run the ball well, he throws the ball well. He thinks. He's a thinker. He does a good job there and he has great leadership qualities. He's been through some hard things in his life, sickly mother, and having to be just about a dad to his younger brother and sister. And he makes no excuses about any of that. It comes to work with that work pail every day, that lunch pail every day. And he gives us everything he has and he also will play hurt.
Hannah Goodin: What about some of your other playmakers, I'll give you the floor to brag on some of your some of your guys.
Maurice Freeman: Well, Jaquan Baker, which people are finally finding out who he is. I think he leads the state in sacks and this is another spread team. So I expect him to do a great job on Friday. 6’2”, 190 pounds. He's got the one AA School looking at him. But I think he is a Division-1 outside linebacker. You know, we'll see what happens but that kid has a lot of talent. Camron Priest is another that's an inside linebacker tha's really a strong safety on the next level. He has a couple of small college offers. I just think those young men have not had the look that they should have had. But as we continue to play, you have no choice but to notice them. So I'm hoping it'll pan out for them.
Jon Nelson: Maurice Freeman, the head coach of Brooks County, hanging out with us for another couple of minutes here in the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast. One of the things I know that a lot of folks are drawn to when it comes to watching Brooks County football is the hammer, and it's part of the mantra and the fabric of what you have built there at Brooks County, when it means when you mean to bring the hammer, we all know what that means. But where did the genesis of that come from? And especially bringing that sledge and planting it at the 50 every week in and week out?
Maurice Freeman: Well, technically, we planted it on 49. We can’t plant it on the 50.
Jon Nelson: True, good point.
Maurice Freeman: It was a huge ruckus in Dublin about where we could put the hammer. The head coach was a little upset that we even had the audacity to bring it on his field.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, man.
Maurice Freeman: It has nothing to do with the other team. It has everything to do with Brooks County and our ability to strike you hard offensively, defensively and special team-wise. It is how it shows our ability to be willing to outwork you, to work harder than you, to run faster than you, to run longer than you and have the endurance that we think that you don't have. So it's all — it's all about, Brooks, our ability to swing as hard as we can, to run as hard as we can, to explode as hard as we can into our opponents for four quarters. And we don't think you'll be able to do the same thing.
Hannah Goodin: Well, it certainly did its job on Friday, that's for sure. My last question for you is, I know you were on the road, but what does football mean to Quitman when you have a home game? Describe what the atmosphere is like.
Maurice Freeman: Oh, man, we have our own personal DJ. He's ready when we get there, he plays “The Champ is Here” for us. There are a lot of fans that are feeding us on a regular basis, but we got quite a few of them to come to practice to make sure our kids are OK. This community, if our guys are somewhere racing or cuttin’ a fool in cars, I’m gonna get a phone call. If they think they're out somewhere that they don't have any business being, I’m gonna get a phone call. They truly care about these kids from the pharmacists to the police to educators to the common people that are just in this city that are just proud of them. They do the same thing. They look out for these young men and make sure that they're doing the right things and make sure they work hard, being a Brooks County Trojan.
Jon Nelson: Last question that I've got for you is with reclassification, you go down from Double A to Single A this season. What has been the biggest adjustment for Brooks County, whether it's the high school, the community, the football team, you as a coach, the coaching staff, what's been the biggest adjustment that you've had to make going from Double A to Single A and being in one of the toughest regions in the state all over again?
Maurice Freeman: There's no adjustment at all. And I made sure of that by giving ourselves a tough non-regional schedule with Cook County, Cairo — which was the first time in the history of Brooks County we'd ever beat them — and still playing Thomasville on our schedule. And Mitchell County as a great non-region game that just got put out of the playoffs. So the non-region is going to be just as tough as the region. You know, we were in 1-AA last year, which was a very tough region, just as tough as the region we're in right now. So there's no problem in Dublin. And Metter followed us down to Single-A. So it's the same to me.
Jon Nelson: Well, Coach, thanks for hanging out with us. I know, especially on your lunch hour, so go get some lunch and make it a good one and make sure that you pet that puppy of yours for me, OK?
Maurice Freeman: No doubt, lunch on you today.
Jon Nelson: Yes, sir. Thank you very much. Be good. I'll catch up soon.
Maurice Freeman: Bring the hammer.
Jon Nelson: Yes sir. Bring the hammer.
Hannah Goodin: I love it.
Jon Nelson: I love how he is that every single time on the phone, every single text, bring the hammer, bring the hammer, bring the hammer. Love that. Now, during that interview, I sent Hannah a picture, and it was because it was texted to me by Coach Freeman. And so, of course, I felt compelled to send it to Hannah. So, Hannah, if you would please describe the photograph that I texted to you.
Hannah Goodin: Well, I had to mute my mic because this photo made me tickled. It’s Coach Freeman, with the hammer, which it's not like a traditional hammer. It's a giant hammer.
Jon Nelson: It’s a giant sledge. It’s a twenty-five-pound sledge.
Hannah Goodin: You know, wooden base. And then it's got the big hammer on top, but his facial expression, I mean, he's in the locker room and it's a dark picture with the light shining up on his face and his facial expression is just like “leggo!” It's a great picture.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. So it's a fantastic picture. And it came to us from our friends In the Game magazine in IDG Next when they were doing their season preview. And so. Yes, so that one was sent and I could not resist sending that to you. Just to show you all about bringing the hammer. Had to.
Hannah Goodin: The facial expression says it all and they brought the hammer, let me tell you.
Jon Nelson: Don't just sing it, bring it is basically what it is. All right. So you had questions of me?
Hannah Goodin: We talked about my games from Round 2 before we turned the page. What were some of your biggest surprises from Round 2?
Jon Nelson: Well, once again, we get into margins. Valdosta knocking off Evans by 37, 44-7. That was another big one. The fact that Hughes shut out Glen Academy on the road. And this is once again, this was a road game. Hughes goes to Glen Memorial Stadium and shuts out Glen Academy 35-nothing. That was another big one for me. Ware County was in a tight one. They were up 28-25 against Creekside. Then they scored three touchdowns in a row — game over. They won 49, 25 in 5A.
Let's see, Coffee once again getting on the road. They were down early to Starr's Mill, came back to win that one in 5A, 24-9. So low left, Coffee is really doing what we anticipate that they're going to do once again, any place, any time, anywhere, twice on Tuesday. And if it's 2:15 in the afternoon, we'll skip weight class and go out, meet you wherever. That's just what Robbie Pruitt and the Trojans do.
Class 4A. This one was in a monsoon. I don't know if you saw the photos. Anything going on on the coast?
Hannah Goodin: I have not.
Jon Nelson: Absolute monsoon. Benedictine and Cairo went back and forth for a while, but then Benedictine and put the pedal down. They beat Cairo. They almost doubled them, 45-23. Riverdale puts up a big number on Northwest Whitfield on the road. Jefferson shutting out Hapeville Charter in 4A. That was another one: 35-nothing there. Cedartown, a big number. Bainbridge shuts out Islands and we talked about last week: travel, travel, travel. Once again. It's going to be a part of that. The dynamic that we have on Countdown to Kickoff. Islands pack a lunch, pack a dinner, pack a midnight snack. Bainbridge got the big one winning by 43. Appling County put 61 on Upson-Lee in Triple A. GHC shuts out North Hall. Peach County put 59 on Thompson by the time it was done, Pierce County shut out central Macon. You'd mentioned Crisp and ARC. And the triple overtime game, but with Cedar Grove and Rockmart. Rabun County with a shutout. Bleckley County again as a four.
Hannah Goodin: I know, I was going to talk about that one.
Jon Nelson: Knocks off Vidalia in Round 1, then they knock off Early County in Round 2, 41-7. Fannin County, another one of the teams I want to talk about, Chad Cheatham.
Hannah Goodin: Oh yeah.
Jon Nelson: Has done a great job up there and beat Heard County 21-14. So they advanced as well. So a great story with Fannin County and Jeffco beat Jeff Davis. Surprise. There will be another helmet added on Wednesday on Countdown to Kickoff.
Hannah Goodin: Ooooh. I’ll make a note.
Jon Nelson: So we're going to be adding another helmet on Countdown to Kickoff as well. And, you know, a lot of other games that we know. We talked about what happened with Brooks and Dublin. Clinch went on the road, beat Pelham. Lincoln County got another win. Irwin County shut out Wilcox, old region rivals there. So that's just some of the highlights. And where's everything better?
Hannah Goodin: In Metter.
Jon Nelson: Because they beat Mitchell County by 41, 49-8.
Hannah Goodin: Warner Robins defeated Woodward Academy. 30-7.
Jon Nelson: That was 7-7 early.
Hannah Goodin: I was surprised about that game.
Jon Nelson: What about it?
Hannah Goodin: I don't know. I just thought Woodward Academy —
Jon Nelson: Well, I mean, it was 7-7 at one point. And then Warner Robins just put the pedal down and won it with the margin that they did. So once again —
Hannah Goodin: They’ve got a tough test against BT. I wouldn't be playing in that game.
Jon Nelson: See that sounds like a transitional element to me, young lady
Hannah Goodin: Does it?
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I think so.
Hannah Goodin: How so?
Jon Nelson: Because you because you're talking about games this upcoming weekend.
Hannah Goodin: OK, well, let's preview our game if that's the if — Oh, ok. OK. I see what you did there. I see what you did there. All right. Well, OK, that's definitely a game that I've got my eye on. I'll ask you what games you're watching.
Jon Nelson: All of them.
Hannah Goodin: But let me preview our quarterfinal matchup, which features two of the top-ranked teams in class AAAAAAA: No. 2 Colquitt County at No. 3 Norcross, yes, getting the Packers on our air. Colquitt County is 9 and 0 and the region champion of Region 1. The Packers are coached by Justin Rogers. They defeated Brookwood 49 to 3 in the first round, then Walton 35 to 12 in the second round.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, they've had to do it without Xavier Williams, who's out with a knee injury. So they're having to do it in different ways. They had a couple of defensive scores this week, too.
Hannah Goodin: Nice. Norcross 12 and 0, they have a few more games under their belt because of COVID reasons. They're the champion of Region 7. The Blue Devils are coached by Keith Maloof. They defeated South Forsyth, 47 to 20 in the first round and then Roswell, 40 to 20. 47 to 20 and then 40 to 20. Wow, they are high scoring in the second round. This will be the third meeting between these two teams, both in the semifinals of the playoffs. So one game, one game shy of that. Norcross, won 14 to 9 in 2013 and 41-27 in 2012. So Colquitt will be looking for some revenge.
Jon Nelson: Revenge, she says. OK, so other games you got your eye on, other than all of them, which is my standard answer.
Hannah Goodin: Let me pull up my bracket.
Jon Nelson: OK, well, here's what I'm looking at just across the board: Valdosta, Carrollton in 6A. Valdosta is on the road again. This is like the early years of when Rush Propst was at Colquitt County. Get into the playoffs, make your hay, get the wins, do them on the road, do your best. Valdosta and Carrollton, Lee County and River Ridge. River Ridge is another great story. Continuing to win after their first region title. They get the home game. Lee County in River Ridge — going to be a tough test for River Ridge. Cartersville at Ware County. And that one's going to be a tough one because Cartersville, after the clash of styles they had with St. Pius, pack a lunch, pack a dinner, maybe a midnight snack, having to go to Waycross. That one's going to be fun.
Coffee and Calhoun, two three seeds making their way through in 5A. Warner Robins, BT you mentioned that one. If Warner Robins wins and if Jones County wins at home against Eastside, you'd have a semifinal involving Mike Chastain, the head coach of Jones County and his former team that he took to the championship game and lost to Bainbridge at Mercedes Benz Stadium a couple of years ago in Warner Robins. So you'd have that subplot on the right hand side of the bracket. What else is on your mind?
Hannah Goodin: Hughes at Buford. That's going to be an awesome one. Hughes is 11 and 1 the No. 2 seed from Region 4-AAAAAA, and Buford 10 and 1 No. 1 seed from Region 8-AAAAAA. This is the team's first meeting. And obviously I said before, Hughes's first time here, punching their ticket to the quarterfinals, that's going to be a really good matchup. I'm always rooting for an underdog.
Jon Nelson: So, yeah, and with being a very, very young school and I mean that in every sense of the word. You know, Hughes has been built by defense and the early, you know, projections, if you believe in these kinds of things, early projections have it as a tight game — have Hughes coming out on top 23-16, courtesy of our friends at Maxwell. So it'll be interesting to see how that one comes to the fore.
Hannah Goodin: One more. West Forsyth at Grayson. Did you mention that one?
Jon Nelson: No, I did not.
Hannah Goodin: I'm just, you know, Jake Garcia and the quarterfinals and the championships. He just decommitted to USC.
Jon Nelson: Color me shocked.
Hannah Goodin: Jon Nelson called this, ladies and gentlemen. I interviewed Jake Garcia —
Jon Nelson: From his car.
Hannah Goodin: From his car. And I asked him at the very end of the interview, you know, are you warming up to Miami, maybe an SEC school? He said absolutely not.
Jon Nelson: Absolutely not.
Hannah Goodin: Planning on early enrolling.
Jon Nelson: I'm enrolled. I'm early.
Hannah Goodin: And he basically was like, I'm already enrolled. And I said, OK, I just had to ask for Jon Nelson because Jon Nelson, from the very beginning, since he even stepped foot in Georgia, has said that man is not going to USC.
Jon Nelson: It’s an audition for schools on the eastern side of the Mississippi River.
Hannah Goodin: All right! I know. You called it. I was like Jon, he said he said he was basically on campus.
Jon Nelson: See now this would be the point where our intrepid and irreplaceable producer, Sean Powers, would bring in the rant from Glengarry Glen Ross and insert it here into the show. “A always.” This is Alec Baldwin, one of the best soliloquies in the history of movies and American cinema. “A always, B be, C, closing, always be closing, always be closing, get them” — and I'm shortening it — get them to sign on the line which is dotted. And that is the approach that I have always had when it comes to National Signing Day until that fax is sent in to that school, ain’t nothing happening with nobody.
Hannah Goodin: You’re right, you’re right.
Jon Nelson: You can say, Hannah, you could sit there and say that you're going to be the Prime Minister of Greenland.
Hannah Goodin: Oooh I’ll take that job —
Jon Nelson: — and until you sign the paperwork where you are the Prime Minister of Greenland, it ain't happening for me.
Hannah Goodin: Quick fact on my family, my great-great-great-great-grandfather was the Prime Minister of England for like six months.
Jon Nelson: Nice.
Hannah Goodin: I don't know what happened. I don't know if he got fired or killed or whatever happened back then, but fun fact.
Jon Nelson: Hashtag fun fact, yes.
Hannah Goodin: So anyway, back to Jake Garcia. It's Monday, guys, I've only had my cup-and-a-half of coffee.
Jon Nelson: Which has already been downed and destroyed. So before we go, really quick, in 4, 3, 2 and 1, Riverdale has to go to Benedictine and Carver, Columbus and Jefferson, Bainbridge, Cedartown, Marist and Perry, great clashes of styles there in Triple A.
Appling County goes to GAC. Peach County and Oconee County once again. That game could still be playing by the time we're back next week. Carver Atlanta and Pierce, big road trip for Carver Atlanta, having to go to Blackshear, Cedar Grove. And Crisp, we talked about that. Double A: Thomasville and Callaway, Bleckley and Rabun. So Bleckley, Big Mims!
Hannah Goodin: Big Mims.
Jon Nelson: And Gunnar Stockton going against one another in the quarters.
Hannah Goodin: That’s going to be a good one.
Jon Nelson: Fitzgerald and Fannin, great story there for Fannin County. We talked about that. Bremen and Jeffco. Class A-Private: Eagle’s Landing Christian, Prince Avenue. Last time these two played, it was 119 points on the board.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Jon Nelson: 62-57.
Hannah Goodin: I thought you were going to say 119 years ago.
Jon Nelson: No, 119 points on the board. Wesley and Savannah Christian. GWA, Calvary Day. Fellowship and Trinity, Christian. In Public, Warren County and Metter, Irwin County Commerce. Irwin County has to go on the road this time. Clinton, Lincoln, Washington-Wilkes and Brooks.
Hannah Goodin: We only have two more podcasts left for the championships.
Jon Nelson: Well, before the championships, and then we come back and wrap it up after we're done.
Hannah Goodin: No, I know, but that's just kind of crazy. Time's flying.
Jon Nelson: Yes, it is. And I'm going to keep hitting. I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to keep hitting whatever this is. Formica.
Hannah Goodin: Fake wood.
Jon Nelson: Because this is not wood.
Hannah Goodin: We’ll pretend.
Jon Nelson: But once again, Recruiting 2020 Friday night, at seven o'clock, where we get to catch up with everything going on in the recruiting world. Kickoff of Colquitt and Norcross slightly after Recruiting 2020 re-airs after the game is over, then the game airs after Recruiting 2020 re-airs. So it's a full Friday night for everybody. Coaches around the state tell me all the time that they will go home and they will watch our stuff because they are still, you know, they're still jazzed after their own games. They watch the replays of all of our stuff when they get home.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, I love it. And everybody else can watch the replays, too. If you've missed any of those Recruiting 2020 shows, go to GPB.org/Sports. And there you can find our On Demand page and you can watch all those. You can also rewatch our games as well on the Facebook OnDemand spot.
Jon Nelson: Yep. GPB.org, the GPB Sports App. Like, Friend. Be a part of the conversation. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. So, good to see you.
Hannah Goodin: Great to see you, too.
Jon Nelson: Once again, it's good to catch up with Morgan Freeman down there, Brooks County and find out all about bringing the hammer as they did to the Shamrock Bowl. For the irreplaceable producer, Sean Powers. For Hannah, I'm just Jon. Play it safe, everybody. Enjoy the game.